Gritty Prannoy steals the show


Young shuttlers K. Srikanth and H.S. Prannoy advanced to the quarter-finals of men’s singles competition in the Japan Open with superb wins but it was curtains for teen sensation P.V. Sindhu at the $200,000 Super Series event here on Thursday.
World no. 56 Prannoy, who has been in rollicking form of late, once again punched above his weight, surpassing Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen, ranked ninth, 21-14, 13-21, 21-17 in a 53-minute match.
Srikanth continued his carnage, defeating Japan’s Kazuteru Kozai 21-12, 21-16 in just over half an hour in another men’s singles match. However, it was end of the road for Sindhu as the eighth-seeded Indian lost 6-21, 17-21 to local shuttler Akane Yamaguchi in a 32-minute women’s singles match.
The Indian men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B. also could not get across the more experienced combo of fourth seeds Chinese Xiaolong Liu and Zihan Qiu losing 17-21, 16-21 in a 36-minute encounter.
The highlight of the day was Prannoy’s gritty performance as he rode on his mighty smashes and energetic display at the nets to tame the 25-year-old Dane, the silver medallist at 2010 European Badminton Championships.
Down 1-4 early on, Prannoy soon charted his own way from 9-9 and used his smashes to good use to lead the match 1-0 after the first game. Jorgensen once again opened up a slender 4-2 lead and though the Indian had clawed back, the Dane was successful in breaking the deadlock at 9-9 and then maintained the distance.
In the decider, it was Prannoy’s turn to hold the early lead and despite a gallant effort by Jorgensen, the Indian was able to keep the match within his grasp.
Leading 18-17, Prannoy grabbed the next three points to make his entry into the quarters.

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